How to repair wheel pitting?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Pacificus, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Pacificus

    Pacificus Adventurer

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    Feb 3, 2010
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    86
    Location:
    UK
    I have a KLX250 (2009, UK) which I'm currently cleaning in preparation of a part exchange. The rear aluminium rim has some pitting, as illustrated in the photo below:

    [​IMG]

    I've tried WonderWheels, aluminium polish, degreaser, and a wheel cleaning acid ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alloy-Whe...ssories_Car_Care_Cleaning&hash=item4d0ad0c494 ), but none had any effect at all.

    I watched this YT vid in which resolving the issue looks very easy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Want27Mvdc4

    In the video the acid used was hydrofluoric acid but I can't seem to find any product containing this specific acid here in the UK.

    Please help me to repair my wheel rim! If anyone in the UK knows of any specific product that will do the job please post a link or let me know what it is.

    I don't know how important this is, meaning I don't know how much less I would get for my KLX in part-exchange if I am unable to fix the wheel rim pitting. Please let me know if you have any idea. I know the nasty condition of the (mild steel) spokes won't help either. Any tips on restoring them to a shine would also be welcome.

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    That's not going to be fixed short of replacing the rim,sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    Any chemical that can touch pits would also destroy all anodizing on the rim.
    The spokes are also corroded heavily so tightening them is no longer possible.

    Ive bought and sold many bikes and if there's rust/corrosion on spots you can see easily.............then there's more of the same elsewhere.

    If your determined to hoodwink this buyer,tape off the tire and rattle can the rim black.
    #2
  3. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    maybe have them powdercoated. i have all my rims done and the powdercoating is pretty thick stuff.
    #3
  4. Pacificus

    Pacificus Adventurer

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    Thanks for your replies. I'm not going to be dishonest and hide the issue, although at the same time it is only a cosmetic problem. The current price for a new KLX250 in the UK is about £4750. The part exchange price for a KLX250 in average condition is, according to WiseBuyers.co.uk, £2230 which, if I remember correctly (after more than a month), was the list price the dealer read to me over the phone when I described the condition of the KLX250 to him.

    Although I haven't attempted any adjustment, I am pretty confident that the spokes can still be adjusted and haven't seized, and that the darkening of the spokes is only cosmetic.

    The bike works fine and is up-to-date with servicing. There are multiple areas of corrosion on the bike, on the frame, brackets and fasteners, and so on, but it actually doesn't look so bad. After having ridden approximately 125,000-miles on a KLR250, with barely washing it a single time and definitely not adhering to the service schedule, I am confident that my KLX250 with it's ~16,000-miles, is in very good mechanical condition, despite the cosmetic imperfections (caused primarily through winter riding).

    After seeing the YT vid I posted a link to above, and from what other people on-line have been saying about hydrofluoric acid, I think the main aim of this thread is to get a recommendation for a product containing that acid which is available in the UK, although I am open to other ideas, of course.
    #4
  5. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    HF isn't going to remove what you have there. The salts have corroded the alum, the metal isn't dirty it's etched. HF will do a great job cleaning a surface, often removing some very stubborn substances but it will not do anything to change an etched surface except clean it. The only way to get rid of what you have there is to remove the surface down to a point beyond the etching. Luckily with alum that;s not too difficult. Start with #400 grit wet & dry sand paper and work your way up to #1000 using #600 in between, Steel wool then polishing compound. This requires lots of elbow grease but i'll look new if that's your goal.

    I work in the semiconductor industry, HF is used on a few of our processes, nasty stuff in the concentrates we see, it attacks the bones rather quickly.
    #5
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    125,000 miles with little servicing and no washing of road filth off a bike.....remind me not to buy a bike from your garage.:lol3

    Spokes routinely stick solid and still look fine,they corrode easily within a year of rough wet/salty useage. If some get loose there's no adjusting the wheel and the spokes get cut out and replaced.

    I dont buy bikes with corrosion on the frame,any smart buyer wouldnt either,if the corrosion works its way into a thin area or joint of frame it can lead to cracks/breaks,its about the first thing I look at on a bike.
    That sort of corrosion can be worst under the tank.

    Washing a bike occasionally can avoid all these problems,more if it goes on salted roads. Or just sell it when it starts looking bad.
    #6
  7. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    I think the anodizing would have to be sanded off to do this,that would take a very long time to do one whole rim.
    Simpler to put on new rims but not monetarily doable on a KLX250.
    #7
  8. Motomochila

    Motomochila Mad Scientist

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    You'd be far better off buying a used set in much better condition from eBay then spending the amount of money on products that won't remove the salt etching. If the wheels look that bad, what condition are the bearings?
    #8
  9. tundradirtbiker

    tundradirtbiker Been here awhile

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    If you use hydrofluoric acid- Use protective clothing. It will cause bone degradation. Do a search on it's health hazards.
    #9